By Elton Gomes
Indian Railways will soon have the world’s largest electrified rail network. In a big boost for improving operations within the Indian Railways, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Cabinet granted approval to electrify the remaining 13,675 kilometres of railway tracks on Thursday.
The move comes four months after the Prime Minister questioned the need for complete electrification of India’s rail network. After the PM-led Cabinet approved 100%electrifications, the debate has now been laid to rest, and railway tracks in India will be completely electrified by 2021-22.
What change will the Railways see after electrification? And how much will the project cost?
The electrification is part of the Piyush Goyal-led Indian Railways project – Mission 100% electrification. The project will ensure that the government-run transporter uses environment-friendly methods and will see to it that passengers and freight movement is conducted efficiently.
Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal said that the project will cost around Rs 12,000 crore. After the project is complete, all broad gauge lines of the Indian Railways will be electrified.
What are the benefits of electrification?
The Indian Railways have said that there are several benefits of complete electrification, such as “reduced dependence on imported diesel, enhanced line capacity and higher haulage capacity, seamless train operations ensuring better speed, improved signalling system for enhanced safety, and direct employment generation during construction for nearly 20.4 crore man days,” according to Financial Express.
The Railways added that 100% electrification will also benefit the environment. Environmental cost per ton kilometer will reduce. Additionally, there will be a 24 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2027-28, and a reduction of almost 2.83 billion litres of fossil fuel consumption per annum.
Saving up on fuel is also a reason why the government approved the proposal, saying that it would help the railways save Rs 13,510 per annum in fuel costs. “This will reduce dependence on imported fossil fuel and reduce costs for the Railways. Prime Minister wants to improve efficiency and by saving cost make Indian Railways profitable. This without burdening the passengers,” Goyal said, adding that the move will also bring down pollution levels, Live Mint reported.
Indian Railways will become one of the largest electrified railway networks
Once the project is completed, India will be home to one of the largest electrified railway networks in the world, and it will be the only large railway with 100 percent electrification. At present, around 48 percent of India’s 61,680 kilometre broad gauge railway network is electrified. These include several traffic-intensive routes, which indicate a healthy return on investments.
Elton Gomes is a staff writer at Qrius
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